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Monday, 11 December 2017
THE car dubbed the “heart of Škoda” — the Octavia — reached a milestone recently when the one and a half millionth third-generation vehicle rolled off the production line.
The Octavia has impressed me since several years ago when a colleague insisted I try one. His words were: “You will be amazed.”
And I have to confess I was. Anyone interested in the development of the modern car that has not driven a Škoda — and might be considering buying a new car — should check out the Octavia’s all-round qualities, not least its marvellous engines.
The car has been upgraded design-wise as well as taking on board new driver assistance systems, infotainment and connectivity.
Since the first modern Octavia generation was launched 21 years ago, more than five million have been sold around the world.
“With the Octavia, the rapid development of our company really gathered pace from 1996,” said one Škoda executive.
It is the Czech car manufacturer’s best-selling model. Production of the upgraded Octavia began at the beginning of February 2017 and comes in hatchback and an estate form. Octavia buyers have a choice of four trim levels: Active, Ambition, Style and Laurin & Klement. They can also choose Scout and RS versions.
The engine choice comprises petrol and diesel units. Depending on the engine version, the Octavia is also available with advanced direct-shift transmission (DSG) and all-wheel drive.
I like this DSG transmission, which made for smooth driving in the car I recently tested.
Coupled with the new 2.0 TDI engine, the combination makes this car a formidable challenger to all competitors in this popular sector.
Those customers seeking extra traction on loose surfaces can specify all-wheel drive with the 2.0 TDI engine. This combination points up everything I like about the Octavia: willingness to perform, along with good economy.
The Octavia’s engine range comprises four TSI petrol engines and three TDI diesels, aiming to combine performance with low consumption. DSG transmissions with six speeds are available for almost all engines.
The infotainment systems offered are part of a new generation of devices that feature a one-piece glass fascia, starting with the 8.0-inch Bolero unit (S and SE models) and moving up to the Amundsen unit that adds navigation (SE Technology and SE L models).
The range-topping 9.2-inch Columbus navigation system (fitted to Laurin & Klement as standard) provides passengers with a Wi-Fi hotspot and optional LTE module for superfast data transfer.
The new Octavia offers Škoda Connect, which comprises two categories: Infotainment Online services that provide additional information such as weather reports and parking space availability, along with real-time navigation details.
Care Connect provides remote access as well as assistance. A year’s subscription to Infotainment Online is available as an option on models equipped with Amundsen and Columbus infotainment systems.
A range of new-generation electronic assistance systems delivers a “safer and more comfortable driving experience”, according to Škoda.
Trailer Assist, Front Assist with Predictive Pedestrian Protection function, Blind Spot Detect and Rear Traffic Alert are new to the Octavia and this, says the Czech car maker, further “reinforces Škoda’s commitment to bringing premium safety systems to the widest possible audience”.
Park Assist comes in a new enhanced configuration that makes even lighter work of tricky parking manoeuvres.
Meanwhile, the interior has been reworked to deliver even higher levels of comfort and convenience.
The redesigned centre console incorporates a range of new-generation infotainment systems, while the heating and ventilation controls have also been updated.
The front end introduces a wider radiator grille designed to integrate the headlight elements.
The light units have been divided to create four distinct shapes, with each one featuring crystalline detailing.
For the first time on Octavia, customers can choose all-LED headlights, along with adaptive front headlights (AFS).
My favourite new must-have for motoring in the 21st century – the heated steering wheel — is available for the first time (being standard on Laurin & Klement and Scout, optional on other trims).
New Škoda Octavia
l Revised model features striking new design and new technologies
l Updated interior with new-generation infotainment systems
l Predictive Pedestrian Protection function, Blind Spot Detect and Rear Traffic Alert
l Škoda Connect infotainment and Care Connect available for the first time
l Range includes Hatch and Estate variants and six engine options
l DSG and all-wheel drive available on selected models
l Seven trim levels including new vRS and Scout models
l UK prices range from £17,195 to £30,245
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